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Sick Dog? Get Them to Eat With These 8 Tips & Foods (2024)

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how to get a sick dog to eatYou know that feeling when you’re under the weather and can’t face eating? Well, it’s just the same for your pup.

From waiting patiently, treating them with healthy snacks, or heating up their food – there are several tips and tricks you can use to encourage your pooch to eat again. With this article, we’ll discuss by exploring 8 different methods, as well as which foods will help nourish and restore energy levels during times of illness.

So let’s start by understanding why dogs lose interest in food before diving into our strategies for getting those tails wagging over dinner time once again!

Key Takeaways

  • Hand-feeding, warming food, switching foods, and hiding medications in food can help a sick dog eat.
  • Baby food, eggs, cottage cheese, boiled chicken, and bone broth with rice are foods that can tempt a sick dog to eat.
  • Adding broth or gravy to water, using ice cubes or frozen treats, syringe-feeding water slowly, and using electrolyte solutions can help with hydration in sick dogs.
  • It is important to call the vet if the dog has not eaten for 48+ hours, has vomiting or diarrhea for 24+ hours, experiences pain or difficulty eating, loses 10% of their weight, or shows signs of lethargy, weakness, or inability to stand.

Why Does a Dog Lose Their Appetite?

Why Does a Dog Lose Their Appetite
When your furry companion is feeling under the weather, it’s common for them to lose their appetite due to illness, stress, or aging. It can be difficult when you witness your pet not eating as usual and experiencing other symptoms like dog vomit.

In some cases, this lack of appetite may indicate a medical issue that requires urgent attention from a vet.

If you’re worried about getting them back on track with food consumption after they’ve been unwell, there are several things you can do to help get your pup feeling better and back on track with eating small amounts of food again in no time!

Firstly, offer existing food items that have been presented before that may tempt their taste buds more than others – if possible, try avoiding any new foods at this point while they are recovering from an illness or infection as it could cause further upset stomach issues.

Instead, focus on providing familiar options such as wet kitten/cat meals, which tend to be easier for dogs who don’t feel well enough yet to eat large kibble pieces.

Additionally, introducing smaller feedings throughout the day rather than one larger meal might also encourage appetites to slowly start returning again without overwhelming sick bellies in the process.

Sometimes hand feeding works best here, so make sure each bite-size piece is easy to chew too (no big chunks).

It’s important, however, not to forget seeking out professional advice should any concerning symptoms persist alongside continued lack of appetite over 48 hours. Contacting vets right away gives peace of mind, knowing proper medical care is being taken care of, plus aid toward determining underlying causes, especially if medication is involved or other potential health risks present themselves (e.

If all else fails, encouraging through gentle face cleaning techniques and then offering irresistible human treats every now and then usually does the trick.

When Should You Contact Your Vet?

When Should You Contact Your Vet
If your pup is displaying concerning symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, or appetite loss over 48 hours, along with other signs of illness, it’s best to contact the vet for further guidance and medical assistance.

Pet owners should also be aware that dehydration can happen quickly in dogs if water intake is not sufficient – watch out for dry gums or eyes, which may indicate this.

In cases where there has been no food consumption after two days, seeking urgent help from a veterinary professional should be paramount – force-feeding without direct supervision could cause more harm than good here!

It’s important to remember that while introducing new dog foods may increase appeal at first due to their strong smells and flavors (which will have decreased when ill), these changes shouldn’t take place until medically approved by an experienced vet who understands the pet’s specific needs and underlying conditions.

Similarly, any medication given must always follow both dosage instructions precisely, plus advice on mixing into food, as incorrect administration can lead again to potential health risks like organ failure in long-term cases.

Finally, though most importantly of all, is ensuring recovery time isn’t rushed either by providing comfort while eating through cuddles or holding them close during feedings, but also allowing enough breaks between meals so they aren’t overwhelmed with trying to digest large amounts of food before feeling better again themselves.

And although tempting treats every now and then usually works wonders towards whetting appetites back up, together with increasing smells using warm wet dog foods plus adding fish broth, etc.

Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog

Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog
When your pup isn’t feeling their best, getting them to eat can be a challenge. To help encourage appetite, try waiting for your dog to graze when they are hungry and offering irresistible human food treats.

Additionally, you may want to switch up dry food brands or heat up wet foods in order to increase the smell and flavor.


Take your time and let the pup graze when appetite returns – don’t rush them back to their regular routine. Start with small amounts of dry food or human food like baby food without onion/garlic, then gradually increase as the dog’s stomach allows.

Give Your Dog a Treat

Try offering irresistible human food treats to your pup – a tasty snack might be just the thing to coax their appetite back! For dog owners, wet or canned food can also help get them eating again. To make it more appealing, try heating up the food for 10-30 seconds and adding warm water for texture.

Change Dry Food Brands

Consider changing your pup’s dry food brand – different tastes may be just what they need to regain their appetite! Start with a sample pack of something new and gradually mix it in with their regular food.

If the current taste doesn’t seem to do the trick, try completely switching to one of the new ones.

Heat Up Your Dog’s Food

Heating up your pup’s food can help to increase its smell and entice them to eat – research shows that warming wet dog food for just 10-30 seconds is enough to make it much more appealing!


  • Warm broth or warm water added into existing dry food
  • Warming the bowl before serving the meal at a pet store
  • Invest in an electronic warmer if needed
  • Heated wet foods from specialty stores.

Offering heated, flavorful meals encourages appetite without overwhelming a sick stomach.

Add Broth to Your Dog’s Food

Adding a little broth to your pup’s food can give it an irresistible flavor boost! Try adding bone broth, warm water, or even white rice. This may entice them to eat and help keep their stomach content. Offer water alongside meals in creative ways like ice cubes or spraying – hydration is key when they’re not eating much! Heat up the meal for 10-30 seconds for increased smell and texture variety too.

What Foods Should I Feed My Sick Dog?

What Foods Should I Feed My Sick Dog
Are you looking for ideas on what to feed your sick dog? Wet food, baby food, bone broth, chicken broth, and shredded chicken are all great options that may help get them feeling better. These foods can provide the extra nutrients a pup needs when they’re not feeling their best while still being easy to digest.

Wet Food

Try feeding your pup wet food, such as canned or freshly cooked, for a taste they won’t soon forget! You can find several brands of wet dog food at the store.

If your pet is having trouble eating due to lack of appetite, try adding chicken broth or using a syringe to force-feed them. For smaller dogs, you may also consider baby foods without onions and garlic added, which can be heated up slightly before giving it to them.

Make sure you check with your vet on proper dosage amounts if using any form of medication in conjunction with their meals! With patience and care, encourage healthy eating habits that will help get your pooch back on track quickly.

Baby Food

You may also consider offering your pup baby food without onions and garlic, which can be warmed for a more inviting aroma. Meat-based flavors are usually most appealing to dogs, so try adding warm bone broth or chicken stock to the mix.

You can even add some liquids directly into their mouth from a syringe if they’re having difficulty eating on their own due to lack of appetite. This technique helps stimulate the dog’s senses and encourages them to eat when feeling unwell.

Additionally, make sure all foods you offer are appropriate for your pet’s age as well as provide any necessary vitamins/minerals needed in order for them to recover quickly!

Bone Broth

Soothe your pup with a warm bowl of bone broth for added flavor and nutrition. Bone broth is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients that help to promote healthy digestion as well as support the dog’s appetite.

In addition to being nutritious and flavorful, it’s also easy for dogs to digest, so they can absorb the essential nutrients more easily.

Chicken Broth

Adding some low-calorie chicken broth to your pup’s food can add flavor and nutrition, helping them regain their appetite. It’s an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for healthy digestion.

The broth also acts as an appetite stimulant due to its savory taste – plus, it contains beneficial nutrients like gelatin that aid in gut health! Try adding cooked chicken or bone broth for a protein boost too.

Here are three ways you can use this tasty treat:

  1. Add it directly to the bowl
  2. Mix it into wet food
  3. Heat it up slightly before feeding.

Chicken broth encourages fullness while providing essential hydration, making it the perfect go-to meal when dealing with a sick dog who won’t eat on their own.

Shredded Chicken

Tantalize your pup with some succulent, shredded chicken – it’s packed full of protein and flavor to help reawaken their appetite!

Rich in vitamins and minerals, this tasty treat can be added to a dog’s normal diet if they’re exhibiting signs of loss in appetite. Not only does shredded chicken provide essential nutrients for your pet, but the savory taste will make them look forward to mealtimes again.

If your pup has been refusing food lately due to heavy illness or stress-related issues, adding some juicy shredded chicken may just do the trick! Incorporate these nutrient-rich foods into meals gradually so that dogs become accustomed to eating again without feeling overwhelmed by rich flavors or textures.

With consistent encouragement and patience from you, they’ll soon be back on track with their regular diet plan.

What Are the Healthiest Foods for My Dog?

What Are the Healthiest Foods for My Dog
Feeding your pup the healthiest possible food can help them recover quickly and feel their best. There are a variety of different methods available to ensure that you provide your pet with the nutrition it needs, no matter what its appetite looks like.

  1. Give individual pieces – By offering smaller portions at meal times, you can make sure that each bite is packed full of nutritional value and keep tracking how much they’re actually eating easier too!
  2. Vary up their regular food – Mix in wet or canned foods as well as treats when needed; this will keep things interesting for them while also providing additional vitamins and minerals not found in kibble alone!
  3. Try out different brands – It’s important to find a brand of dog food that works best for your pup’s individual needs so don’t be afraid to switch things up if necessary–your vet may even recommend certain ones based on age/breed/weight considerations etcetera.

The healthiest foods for dogs should always include proteins such as chicken or fish, complex carbs such as rice or oats, essential fatty acids through oils like coconut oil (unless otherwise recommended by a veterinarian), plenty of vegetables & fruits, plus any supplements prescribed by the doctor where appropriate.

The Importance of Water

The Importance of Water
Encouraging your pup to drink water, especially when they are sick, is essential for their health and well-being. Be sure to look out for signs of dehydration such as dry gums or eyes and avoid feeding them sugary foods or any other food items that can be harmful.

With the right techniques in place, you can ensure your dog stays hydrated during a time of sickness.

How to Encourage Water Intake

Encourage your pup to stay hydrated by offering them water in creative ways, such as a dripping faucet or ice cubes. If they’re having trouble drinking, try freezing diced vegetables for an enticing snack and source of hydration.

You can also add bone broth, pumpkin puree, or other flavorings to their dog’s water bowl! The importance of keeping your pet well-hydrated cannot be stressed enough. Good options include low-sodium chicken broth diluted with warm water and electrolyte solutions recommended by vets.

Letting your pup take small sips throughout the day is key. If necessary, use a syringe until normal eating habits return or seek professional help from the vet immediately if there are any concerning symptoms present.

Signs of Dehydration

Check your pup’s gums, eyes, and skin for signs of dehydration if they’re not drinking enough water.

  • Dryness in the nose or mouth area
  • Dull eyes that seem sunken in
  • Lackluster coat with no elasticity when pinched
  • Discolored gums from pale to blue/gray tones
  • Lethargy or weakness due to lack of energy and fluid loss.

Make sure your pup has easy access to their dog’s water bowl throughout the day and add flavorings like bone broth, pumpkin puree, and electrolyte solutions recommended by vets so they stay hydrated even during times of loss of appetite.

What Not to Feed a Dog

Make sure to avoid feeding your pup sugary foods, raw meat/fish, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and other dangerous items like onions or garlic.

Food Types:

  • Xylitol
  • Avocado
  • Grapes
  • Raisins

Giving these food types to a dog can lead to serious health risks such as organ failure.

If your pup’s appetite is low or they have missed their meal for more than 48 hours, contact the vet right away.

Additionally, be mindful of what type of dry food brands you’re giving them – some may not agree with their stomachs!

If your dog refuses meals, it could mean there are underlying illnesses that need medical attention, so don’t hesitate to seek help from the vet if needed.

What to Do After 48 Hours

What to Do After 48 Hours
If your pup has been sick for 48+ hours and is not eating, don’t worry – you can take action. Try a 1/4 tablet of Original Pepcid AC to help whet their appetite and get creative by hiding the pills in something they may enjoy, like cottage cheese or peanut butter.

Above all else, be patient with them; this process takes time, but patience will eventually win the day! As a bonus tip: if nothing seems to work after trying these methods at home, visit your vet for further advice on how to get them back into healthy eating habits.

Try a 1/4 Tab of Original Pepcid AC

If your pup is still not eating after 48 hours, try a 1/4 tab of original Pepcid AC to whet their appetite. It’s a medicinal appetite stimulant that could help kick-start their desire for food and get them back on track.

This can be especially helpful if the underlying cause has been addressed but the dog’s appetite isn’t improving as expected.

Make sure to follow dosage instructions provided by your vet before giving this medication so you don’t risk any adverse reactions or other complications from its use.

Whet the Appetite

Try tempting your pup’s taste buds by offering them something to whet their appetite.

  • Adding additional flavor and higher water content to good food like wet dog meals or baby food.
  • Introducing new foods with a strong aroma, such as warmed fish or meaty baby foods.
  • Experimenting with small amounts of human-grade treats that are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.

    Offering these options might just be the key that encourages them back onto eating regular healthy meals again!

Hide the Pills

Hide medication in food to help your pup take it without fuss. Try hiding pills inside chunks of bone broth, baby food, or their regular dog food. To ensure the correct stimulant is used for appetite improvement and other medical needs, always consult with a vet first.

This will also help you adjust the amount of each ingredient according to your dog’s specific health profile and age range.

Get Creative

Be creative and think outside the box – try adding delectable flavors, like bone broth or baby food, to entice even picky pups into eating! Mix pumpkin with their regular dog food for an extra boost of nutrients.

Or combine some cooked chicken and rice together for a warm meal. Adding these ingredients can awaken your pup’s appetite while also providing essential vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.

Patience Wins the Day

Give yourself and your pup some time – patience can be the key to getting them back on track! It’s a good idea to wait before you start worrying, as it may take a long period of time for your dog’s appetite to return.

Here are some tips:

  • Provide good sources of calcium like bone broth or cottage cheese.
  • Give treats sparingly throughout the day instead of all at once.
  • Don’t force feed; let them graze when they’re hungry.

Patience wins the day with picky eaters! If after 48 hours there is still no improvement, contact your vet right away for advice and guidance on how best to proceed.

Bonus Tip: Visit the Vet

Visit your vet for professional advice and guidance if your pup still hasn’t eaten after 48 hours – the sooner you get help, the better! Potential tests include a full senior blood panel to check for liver, kidney, or thyroid dysfunction.

Keep your dog well-hydrated with water in creative ways between meals. Change up their regular food to wet or canned options and vary the texture using warm water or mashed kibble gruel.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Getting to the Root of the Problem
Uncovering the cause of your pup’s appetite loss is important to get them back on track. It could be something as simple as an upset stomach, or it could point to a more serious underlying illness like infection, disease, or even joint health issues.

To determine what’s going on with your dog’s stomach and digestion processes, you should look out for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting (or other signs of distress)
  • Lethargy or lack of energy during playtime activities they normally enjoy
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea/gagging/wheezing/coughing
  • Unresponsiveness when offered food items they usually love.

If any of these are present, then consulting a veterinarian is essential in order to accurately diagnose and treat the issue at hand so that your pet can start feeling better soon!

Some helpful tips for diagnosing and treating include:

  • Blood tests: A full senior blood panel, if not done already, may reveal underlying problems that can indicate further testing such as liver dysfunction, kidney disease, thyroid malfunction, etc., need to be done. Screenings also help rule out parasites like giardia, which can affect a pup’s appetite too!
  • Dental Disease: If there has been no diagnosis yet, make sure dental diseases have been ruled out since this will also hamper their eating habits significantly due to impeding pain levels from tooth decay, etc.
  • Medications: Make sure all medications being taken by pups are in accordance with vet instructions since taking wrong dosages might cause vomiting, leading to a decline in appetites without owners realizing why this is happening suddenly over time…
  • Diet Changes: Consult vets before changing dietary plans drastically since sudden shifts may lead to bad reactions causing difficulties digestible foods, necessitating changes again, adding extra stress pet gastrointestinal systems don’t need right now…

In order to ensure proper recovery, pets must receive the best care possible based on knowing the root causes behind losses of appetites, helping them return to healthy lives quickly and efficiently possible while making them happy once more.

Time is a Healer

Time is a Healer
Time can be a great healer for sick dogs, so giving them the opportunity to rest and recover at their own pace without forcing them to eat may help bring back their appetite over time.

To further promote recovery, it is important not to overwhelm your pup’s stomach too soon. Wait 12+ hours after any vomiting incidents before trying food again. Additionally, introducing small meals in frequent intervals instead of one large meal could also aid digestion while allowing ample time between feedings so that your pet does not become overwhelmed or full too quickly.

Food Pumpkins & Pumpkin Pie Filling
Benefits & Uses Improves digestive health Rich source of fiber Promotes heart health High levels of vitamin A Boosts immunity

Additionally, providing flavorful foods such as bone broth combined with pumpkin pie filling can both support hydration needs while whetting appetites through its enticing smell. This combination is also beneficial for its nutrient content; pumpkins are rich in essential vitamins (A) which helps boost immunity plus improves digestive technology due to high fiber content all around! As always, make sure what you are feeding your pup meets vet approval prior to consumption though – otherwise making this delicious treat might have been quite pointless… wink.

Encouraging healthy habits, such as hand-feeding small amounts at regular intervals, during which owners should remain calm yet supportive, will go a long way towards easing anxiousness surrounding mealtimes if done correctly over some weeks’ worth of practice sessions – pups need reminding just like us humans sometimes do when we have been away from something familiar or comforting for extended periods… especially those fur babies afflicted by illness who want nothing more than being surrounded by love and care during difficult times like these!

Can You Artificially Stimulate a Dog’s Appetite?

Can You Artificially Stimulate a Dog
You can try to artificially stimulate your pup’s appetite with a variety of techniques, but only do so under close veterinary guidance. A great way to start is by spicing up their regular food or offering a bit of baby food as an enticing accompaniment.

Bone broth is also a tasty and nutritious option that not only helps keep them hydrated but may even get your pup excited about meal times again! Adding some pumpkin into the mix provides both flavor and nutrients like vitamin A, which boosts immunity.

It’s worth giving this approach time before jumping straight in for medicated stimulation, though.

For those moments when hand feeding becomes necessary, make sure you remain calm yet supportive while doing so; cuddles are always welcome at mealtimes too if they seem receptive! It might take some concentration on both ends – yours and theirs – just remember how important patience will be here since there’s no such thing as forcing recovery down anyone’s throat… figuratively speaking of course (but don’t forget literally either!).

Seeking out professional help from veterinarians should be done early enough if symptoms persist or worsen over time for the best chance at ensuring everything turns out alright in the end because nobody wants any surprises along these journeys either, right? So go ahead – seek that extra pair of eyes needed to assess any underlying issues affecting their appetites today then act upon those recommendations sooner rather than later – all whilst being conscious about what we already know: Time really does heal all wounds eventually!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Can I Make My Dog’s Meals More Appealing?

Try spicing up their meals – add a spoonful of fish, warm baby food, or broth. Smear it on their nose so they can smell the flavor. Hand-feed them and show love while doing so! Make every meal an experience with enticing aromas to whet their appetite.

What Should I Do If My Dog Is Vomiting?

If your dog is vomiting, contact the vet immediately. Stop feeding and wait for 12+ hours after vomiting before trying again.

Are There Any Foods I Should Avoid For My Dog?

Avoid sugary and raw foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, onions/garlic. Also steer clear of macadamia nuts and products with xylitol like avocado or grapes/raisins for your pup’s safety.

What Are Signs of Dehydration In a Dog?

Signs of dehydration in a dog include dry gums, sunken eyes, and a lack of energy. Offer water creatively or take your pup to the vet if no water is consumed for 48 hours.

How Long Should I Wait Before Taking My Dog To The Vet?

If your dog has lost their appetite, contact a vet after 48 hours. If they seem very ill or display concerning symptoms such as vomiting or wheezing, seek urgent care right away.


It’s important to take your sick dog’s appetite seriously. Like a wave ebbing and flowing, the journey to get your pup feeling better can be difficult. But with patience, understanding, and following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able to get your dog to eat and back on the path to recovery.

Remember, if your dog isn’t eating after 48 hours, it’s time to contact your vet. They’ll be able to provide you with the guidance you need to get your pup healthy and happy again.

So, don’t let your pup’s appetite loss go unnoticed – take action today and get your pup back on track!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.